Project Overview

The 8Rs Canadian Library Human Resource Study is a national research project designed to examine important facets of library human resources from both organizational and individual perspectives.

The original 8Rs study, conducted in 2003 and 2004, arose in response to a growing perception in the community that libraries would be facing mass retirements within the next 5 to 15 years. Beyond anecdotal evidence, however, much was unclear about the extent of retirements and also about how libraries were planning to handle the replacement of senior staff or the restructuring of their positions given the broader context of shifting staff roles, an ever-evolving framework of new technologies, and budget limitations.

In contemplating the breadth of retirements and in conducting preliminary conversations with the Canadian library community, it quickly became evident that a host of other important human resources-related questions had also never been studied in Canada. In response, an ambitious research agenda was developed around the 8 core elements seen as fundamental to understanding human resources in Canadian libraries: retirement, recruitment, retention, remuneration, repatriation, rejuvenation, reaccreditation, and restructuring.

The original 8Rs study involved literature reviews, focus group sessions and in-depth interviews with library heads, and lengthy surveys of library institutions and library practitioners across academic, public, and special library sectors. The results of the study were presented to the community in a 275-page report: The Future of Human Resources in Canadian Libraries (2005).

The original study was always intended to be used as a baseline for further research, and in 2013/14 the study was replicated with the member libraries of the Canadian Association for Research Libraries (CARL). The replication or 'Redux' utilized similar methods as the original study. The central components of both research studies are surveys of CARL libraries (referred to as the Institutional Survey) and of CARL staff (the Practitioner Survey). This collection of longitudinal data contained in 8Rs Redux: CARL Libraries Human Resources Study (2015), provides a quantitative mapping of the many ways in which CARL libraries and their staff have changed within this 10-year time frame as well as how they have responded to such changes.See also the Executive Summary (2015).

Other 8Rs Research Endeavors

The Future is Now: Responses to the Canadian Library Human Resource Study (2012) is a collection of submissions published by the Canadian Library Association designed to build upon the 8Rs research agenda by utilizing published data or to further analysis the raw data itself.

On behalf of the Cultural Human Resources Council of Canada, the Training Gaps Analysis: Librarians and Library Technicians (2006) study builds upon the original 8Rs data on the views of administrators and practitioners by collecting and comparing new data from the perspective educators and students around questions of library education-industry match for professional Master's level programs and for paraprofessional library technician programs.

The Future of Heritage Work in Canada (2004) presents the results of the original 8Rs study alongside that of archives and museums.